Chapter 12: In search of common ground: energy justice perspectives in global fossil fuel extraction

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Book Chapter

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In this chapter, we introduce energy justice, an emerging transdisciplinary concept capable of tackling complex energy problems. Energy justice is a term that has been used in practice (i.e. in non-academic work, such as in the commercial and public sectors) far longer than in academic research, albeit to a very limited degree. With the emergence of the energy justice concept, two approaches have come to dominate, one that considers energy systems using existing understandings of forms of justice, and one that deciphers its two main principles from the unique characteristics of energy as a good. To differentiate between these two approaches, we call them, respectively, the “system” and “foundational” approaches. The purpose of the chapter is to demonstrate the importance of grappling with issues of justice in any instance of environmental management decision making, to show that there are diverse perspectives that offer tools for doing so specifically in the realm of energy systems management, and to illustrate use of an important research and analytical tool by considering how controversial subjects like fossil fuel-based energy systems can be evaluated using different approaches to energy justice.

Publisher's Statement

© Kathleen E. Halvorsen, Chelsea Schelly, Robert M. Handler, Erin C. Pischke and Jessie L. Knowlton 2019. Publisher's version of record:

Publication Title

A Research Agenda for Environmental Management